WIPO Coming to Canada

Speculation that Canada was going to institute some form of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) has been a topic of frequent forum discussion.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

While the details are sketchy on whether or not the DMCA would be imported into Canadian law, a letter has surfaced which indicates that Canadian copyright reform would bring Canada closer to “conformity with the World Intellectual Property Organization”. The news comes just shortly after reports of the Copyright Reform bill coming within the coming “weeks”.

Russell McOrmond, a FLOSS consultant and blogger wrote a letter to the new Minister of Canadian Heritage back in August 21st. On November 19th, the response to his letter was posted online.

“The Government of Canada, led by the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages,” wrote Craig Carson, the Senior Policy Advisor for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, “is working toward bringing Canadian copyright policy into conformity with the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties.”

Reports on such a move were alluded to recently, but the letter offers a very clear indication on where the copyright reform process is headed. Before now, the most direct evidence on where the reform process was headed was the speech from the throne which said, “our Government will support Canadian researchers and innovators in developing new ideas and bringing them to the marketplace through Canada’s Science and Technology Strategy. Our Government will improve the protection of cultural and intellectual property rights in Canada, including copyright reform.”

While there are many indications that this push towards US style copyright law was originating from outside interests, another source of this pressure very likely came from the controversial Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

Shortly after the previous copyright reform bill, many Canadian artists and major Canadian record labels left the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association). These artists then formed the Canadian Music Creators Coalition to oppose views held by organizations such as the CRIA on the future of copyright law. Other organizations such as CIPPIC (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic) and ORC (Online Rights Canada) also oppose DMCA-like laws from being imported into Canada.

While copyright legislation has yet to be tabled (and there have been many promises without delivery in the past), it seems as though the legislation will more likely favor the mainly foreign interests.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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